Bahrain signs security agreement with Nato

Posted in NATO , Broader Middle East | 25-Apr-08 | Source: Gulf in the Media

The Kingdom yesterday signed a security agreement with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) at a conference in Manama on cooperation between the Western alliance and Gulf Arab states.

The accord provides for the exchange of security information, senior Bahraini foreign ministry official Shaikh Abdulaziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa told reporters.

It was signed by the Foreign Minister, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, and the Nato Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, at the one-day gathering of security officials.

“The agreement regulates the exchange of security information between Bahrain and Nato... such information is important to both sides to resolve or avert security problems or even disasters,” such as “a radioactive leak from a nuclear station in the region,” Shaikh Abdulaziz said.

Bahrain and three other Gulf Arab states – Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE – have joined the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) since its launch at a Nato summit in Istanbul in 2004.

In his remarks to the meeting, De Hoop Scheffer urged Saudi Arabia and Oman to join their four GCC partners in joining the ICI.

The ICI focuses on practical security cooperation between states throughout the broader Middle East, with special emphasis on the energy-rich Gulf nations.

Through the accord, Nato offers practical cooperation in areas such as counterterrorism, border security, participation in Nato exercises and countering weapons of mass destruction.